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Sharon Blakey

Senior Lecturer
Three Dimensional Design

Sharon is a senior lecturer on the BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design programme where she teaches across all levels of study. She acts as L4 Unit X leader and is part of the cross-faculty staff team responsible for delivering the Contextualising Practice 2 unit. Sharon is also a tutor for postgraduate ceramics students on the MA Design programme and is a PhD advisor.

As a practicing ceramicist Sharon has exhibited in the UK and abroad. Her work is driven by her research into collectors and collections, revealing the often extraordinary narratives behind insignificant objects held in personal and public museum collections. She was part of a cross-disciplinary team investigating the Mary Greg Collection of Handicrafts of Bygone Times held at Manchester Art Gallery resulting in numerous publications including a co-authored book chapter 'A Question of Value: Rethinking the Mary Greg Collection of Handicrafts of Bygone Times' for Collaboration Through Craft (Bloomsbury). She is currently researching the Thomas Bateman Collection of Antiquities and Miscellaneous Objects held at Lomberdale House, Derbyshire. Sold in entirety through a number of Sotheby sales in 1893, the collection provides an opportunity to consider the symbiotic relationship of dispersal and acquisition and the effects of this on object biography and provenance.

Sharon’s interest in the point of discard drives her own collecting. She considers the point of transaction between person and artefact a pivotal moment in our complex relationship with things. It is the dichotomy of conditions such as lost/found; useful/obsolete; trash/treasure on perceptions of value that is at the core of her research and making. This is physically manifest through her Transitory and Timeworn (TaT) Collection, which Sharon uses as part of her teaching within the School of Art and as a starting point for delivering external creative workshops and master classes for pupils as well as CPD short courses for teachers.

Her work in devising the Maker’s Palette, a craft based creative methodology, was developed into an action research project in collaboration with Jane McFadyen, Principal Lecturer for Widening Participation and Outreach at the Manchester School of Art. An academic paper detailing the project, 'Curiosity over Conformity: The Maker’s Palette – a case for hands-on learning' was delivered at the Group for Learning in Art and Design (GLAD) national conference (Feb 2015) and published in the Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education (ADCHE) Journal by Intellect Publishers (Nov 2015).

Writing is an increasingly important aspect of Sharon’s practice, enabling her to reflect upon and frame her thinking about objects, object making and bodily learning within the broader fields of anthropology, psychology, neuroscience and material culture studies. She has been published in a number of journals and is currently working on a co-authored essay, 'Unfolding: a multisensorial dialogue in material time', with Liz Mitchell, MMU lecturer and PhD researcher. The essay is due to be published in the international peer reviewed journal Studies in Material Thinking in August 2017.


Manchester Art Gallery Masterclass

Masterclass for teachers and pupils Nov and Dec 2009, Manchester Art Gallery in conjunction with 'Mary, Mary Quite Contrary' project. Details…

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

A collaborative project with Hazel Jones (metalworker) and Manchester Art Gallery. The project is an Investigation and artist response to the artefacts and archival material of the Mary Greg Collection of Handicrafts of Bygone Times. Details…


A MMU project in collaboration with Cardiff School of Art and Design, University College Falmouth and University of Sunderland. Pairings brings together makers across disciplines to ask questions about acquired knowledge and the perceptions of practice through the cross fertilization of media and ideas. Details…

Pairings 2 at SIT, Stroud International Textiles

Collaborative work with weaver Ismini Samanidou as part of the Pairings project. Pairings, brought together makers from a variety of disciplines to engage in creative discourse, cross boundaries and share ideas. Details…

Pathways and Progression

Two short courses for Key Stage 3 pupils as part of the Renaissance North West Education and Development Programme 2008 and 2009. Details…

The Maker's Palette

Three day CPD course for teachers, June/July 2008. Details…


Sharon Blakey is a member of:

A selection of recent research outputs.


McKeating, J., 2013. Pairings, Conversations and Collaborations, Contemporary Applied Arts, London, 22nd march - 13th April 2013.

Blakey, S. and Samanidou I, 2012. Pairings 2, SIT, Stroud International Textiles, April 27 - May 27 2012.

McKeating, J., 2012. Pairings II: conversations and collaborations, Stroud International Textiles, Park Gallery, Stroud, April - may 2012.

Samanidou I featuring Blakey, S., 2012. Topography: recording place - mapping surface, The Crafts Study Centre, June - Sept 2012.

Blakey, S. and Samanidou I, 2012. Utensil, The National Craft Gallery of Ireland, August - November 2012.

Jones, H., 2011. Object Memory Showcase, Manchester Art GAllery, February 2010.

Ceramic spoon with woven cloth shadowCeramic spoons on woven cloth textNest of spoons

Webb, J., 2011. Pairings, MMU Special Collections, Otter Gallery Chichester, Fairfield Mill, Cumbria, September 2010 -.

Blakey, S., 2009. Art School! Historic Perspectives, Contemporary Reflections, Holden Gallery, Manchester Metropolitan University and Special Collections Gallery MMU, Feb - Oct 2009.

Blakey, S., 2008. Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, Manchester Grammar School for Boys, October 2008.

Blakey, S., 2008. Reflective Stories, Holden Gallery, MMU, Nov 2008.

Half Full, Half Empty - cups

Blakey, S., 2008. Tasse, Teller und Schale, Galerie Handwerk Koblenz, Germany, Feb/Mar 2008.

'Firing Thoughts' catalogue page

Blakey, S., 2007. Firing Thoughts, Peter Scott Gallery, Preston. Special Collections Gallery, MMU, Oct 2007 - March 2008.

Blakey, S., 2007. Made in Manchester, The Gallery of Chinese Profiles, Xiamen, China, November 2007.

Blakey, S., 2007. Manchester, Our Tradition is Innovation, The Art Museum, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Xiamen, China, November 2007.

Ribbon Threader - Commemorative Dish

Blakey, S., 2006. Out of the Ordinary, Special Collections Gallery, MMU, April - October 2006.

Internet Publications

McFadyen, J. Blakey, S, 2016. 'Curiosity over conformity: The Makers Palette – a case for hands-on learning', Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education,,id=139/.

Journal Articles

Blakey, S., Mitchell, L., 2017. 'Unfolding: A multisensorial dialogue in 'material time'', Studies in Material Thinking, 17.

Blakey, S., McFadyen, J., 2015. 'Curiosity over conformity: The Maker's Palette - a case for hands-on learning', Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education, 14 (2), pp. 131-143.

Blakey, S., 2011. 'A Lull in the Conversation', Ceramic Review, Issue 249, Page 50.

Blakey, S. A.Woodall, L.Mitchell, 2011. 'Mary, Mary Quite Contrary', Ruskin Review and Bulletin, Vol 7, No 1, 36.

Blakey, S., 2006. 'My Father's Razor', Interpreting Ceramics, Issue 7.


Jones, H. Liz Mitchell, Alex Woodall, 2011. 'Mary Greg Collection', Materiality - Intangibility, Leicester Museums Conference, December 2009, in Online.

Blakey, S., 2009. 'The Maker's Palette - A Fundamental Approach to Creative and Reflective Thinking', Cheshire Art and Design Conference, Forest Hills Conference Centre, Frodsham, Cheshire, February 2009.

McErlain, A. Jones,H. Blakey,S, 2008. ''Public Speaking:research,exhibition and the public imagination'', UMAC 8th International Conference, University of Manchester, 16th - 20th September 2008.

Blakey, S., 2008. 'A Place for Making', Transforming the Art, Craft and Design Curriculum, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, July, 2008.

Other Outputs

McFadyen, J.Blakey.S, 2005. 'Knowledge Capitals Conference', Presentation and Project at the World Conference on Urban Education.

McFadyen, J. M.Pinder, S.Blakey, S.Ohana, C.Hazelwood, J.Bloxham, M.Wilson. J. Whitelaw, 2003. '"Eye of The Beholder" Conference for the Association for Contemporary Jewellery', Three day conference with three commissioned Exhibitions and workshop events..